Last month, global steamship line Zim announced an impending partnership to be established with one of the three major carrier alliances, 2M. 2M, comprised of Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping Company and Hamburg Sud competes globally as one of the three major carrier alliances.
The announcement sited an action date of approximately first week of September. The objective? To improve overall costs for parties involved, increase regional and global trade lane coverage through slot sharing and more consistently manage capacity and vessel deployments. The group collectively released information that the services would be consolidated; 2M would be dropping one string of five while Zim would drop one string of two on east coast services out of Asia.
As we approach September, more information has become available. Zim had previously acted as an independent carrier, offering niche services for east coast including a new service called Seven Star Express (Z7S) which offered market leading transit times from South China and Vietnam to Wilmington, NC. This service previously ran at 30-31 days from each of these regions on direct vessels.
This week, information available through carrier websites indicates a major change to the Seven Star Express service, primarily, the removal of Wilmington from the east coast rotation. If the service revision hold true, it will mean major changes to transits for importers shipping from South China and Vietnam into Wilmington. Changes include much longer transit, 44-47 days as well as the loss of a direct service; connections from Vietnam and South China would now be made via Ningbo transshipment on ZCP service, also potentially transshipping in Busan.
Overall impact on other lanes and US ports is negligible. It comes as unfortunate news for NC based importers as Zim has been filling a service gap left by the collapse of Hanjin a few years ago. Overall transit times are much closer to the typical times offered through the 2M alliance.
Check back for further updates as information becomes available.